We’ve been reading stuff this week. I use the word stuff because it’s bits and pieces of writing that leads to a conversation. Like yesterday, I read a portion of a chapter of a book to Bruce while we navigated Chicago streets. The portion I read had to do with implicit bias. The concept isn’t new but the terminology was new to us and it led to a conversation between us about the things/people that we hold implicit biases toward.
Today I read a small booklet by Beth Moore about The Enemy. We all know who The Enemy is…if not then let me say, for the record, he’s not our President. Her booklet was about Godly people who fall into destructive sin and can’t really understand how they got there. It took me all of 30 minutes to finish but I had more information tucked away than I’d had in ages. I read portions of it to Bruce over coffee. It explained so much! Like why I can’t, for the life of me, understand how I ended up 8″ too short for my weight.
All of this reading and conversation evolved because we took a trip to Moody Bible Institute’s bookstore. There was a particular book I wanted and though I could get it next day via Amazon Prime (love my Prime) I thought it would be more adventurous to wander out there. Now that we live in Chicago we can do things like that, right? Right. So we did and we found a couple of items, though not what we set out for, and then we headed to lunch.
After an hourlong deviation through Water Tower Mall’s parking lot, ($23 minimum parking wasn’t in our budget) we started on the overland route home. We toyed with the idea of finding street parking downtown, only to let that go after 2 blocks (adding another 20 minutes to our trip). Along the way we saw a lot of restaurant possibilities but always no parking. I finally got bored and started reading out loud to gain control of my side car navigation tendencies. I did let out a “SLOW DOWN” once or twice but it was ignored so I nosed back into the book.
Finally Bruce pulled over and parked saying he found a place he thought I’d like-okay, sure, let’s go. We walked over to the restaurant and the bartender met us with “We don’t open till 5 pm but you will love this place with $25 sandwiches a block away”. So what did we do? We buttoned up and walked the block away. It was 23 degrees and windy but most importantly, we had a parking spot. At this point the sandwiches could have cost $50 each and we still would have gone.
Throughout our lunch we went back to the implicit bias conversation, identifying why we might have them, what childhood experiences led to them and so on. One of the things we both held were implicit biases about evangelicals.
I claim that label when speaking about politics but within Christian denominations I avoid it. I even cast off the label of charismatic and went to pentecostal. I am friends with many wonderful evangelical Christians and I dearly love them and I know they’re going to inhabit eternity with me, but I am pentecostal to the bone. Everything that happened in the New Testament is still available and promised to believers today. When we finally see Jesus all that will matter is that we know him and in my humble, 47 years of walking and learning, the simplest way to do that is by living the entirety of Scripture.
Including all of the supernatural stuff that (in my experience) evangelicals tend to teach away. Reasons vary but here are a few I’ve encountered:
- we have the full cannon of Scripture,
- the age of the Apostles is over,
- the Reformation came (and went), the period of Grace is in effect,
- the the activity of the Holy Spirit is different because the church is established,
- the elect are chosen and the Pledge of Allegiance is–oops, different subject.
Anyway, back to my Beth Moore booklet. She had a phrase that spoke to me (and yes, I know she attends a Baptist church which is under the evangelical umbrella and I don’t care…proving that even this pentecostal is willing to broaden her labeling system)
“When God rises from his throne his enemies scatter”
I had this picture from my journey through Revelation last year, of God on his throne with his creatures by his side, his river of glass in front of him, his victorious Son seated at his right hand and all the angels bowing before him.
Then he stands up.
It’s a powerful image, at least for me. It brought to mind Satan and his minions parading in heaven hoping to best God by turning his servant Job away from him. Didn’t work. I wonder if God stood up to end that argument?
His enemies scatter.
Like the cockroaches they are, they scuttle away after the kitchen lights come on. Who are God’s enemies anyway? When David said:
Psalm 68:1″May God arise, may his enemies be scattered, may his foes flee before him”
God’s enemies were more distinctly defined. The enemies of Israel were God’s enemies. It was a national identity not an individual one. Compare that to these words from Jesus:
Luke 11:23 “He who is not with me is against me and he who does not gather with me scatters”
Now we have a personal enemy. What keeps us from being “with” Jesus? I’m guessing that’s our enemy. I’ll leave it to you to identify it, my personal list is long. Asking God to stand and scatter that enemy is simple yet potent stuff. I’ll ask it, all day long. My enemies are not only abundant but entirely unmanageable. They do a vermin crawl through my life, distracting, discouraging and at times defeating me. Scattering them would be an enormous step forward. Currently my major enemy is parking in Chicago…so please God, arise! Scatter this one–puh-leeeese!
I think I hear him say, “Public transportation“